CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As the football season ended, Harding University High School's head coach, Jeff Caldwell, and a volunteer team manager, Jeremy Moore, stood in the equipment room counting inventory and folding up uniforms from the season.

Before this season, it had been 15 years since Caldwell and Moore had connected. Moore, now 30 years old and on the autism spectrum, first met Caldwell when he was a student in the exceptional children's program at West Charlotte High School in 2007.


What You Need To Know

  • A former exceptional learning student reconnected with his teacher to volunteer with the Harding University High School football team
  • Coach Jeff Caldwell says he regularly opens positions on the team for people no matter their abilities
  • Jeremy Moore, the volunteer manager, says being with the team keeps him going.


"He was hard on me," Moore said with a smile. "And we would have parties and he used to give me good grades. I used to get my work done."

Caldwell would help with the program at the high school.

"And I hadn't seen Jeremy in all that time. We hadn't seen each other," Caldwell said. 

Fifteen years later, Moore was looking for a place to volunteer. He says after being denied at several locations, he remembered Caldwell. So, Moore paid him a visit at Harding University High School for a chance to volunteer with the team. 

Caldwell said after checking with Moore's mom and grandma, and filling out the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School volunteer form, Moore was a part of the team. Moore says he was in charge of the water and making sure players are ready to roll. Moore says being a part of the team keeps him going.

"I want to keep my mind busy, and help reach other people around the world, and help the younger generation and the coaches," Moore said.

Caldwell said this isn't the first time he or other coaches have let people with different abilities on the team. Beyond the manager position, he accepts players.

"It helps out with grades. It helps with discipline. It helps out with character, culture, you know all of those things go into play," Caldwell said. "You're bringing groups of people together to form one unit and to have one goal. So when you see that happening, and to see the different pieces coming together, and you see the differences in the kids, that's why we open it up to anybody."

Moore said he is already looking forward to coming back next season.